If you’re the parent of twins, you’ve probably had an earful about whether you should dress your twins alike.
People notice when siblings of different ages are dressed alike. But dress your twins in matching outfits, and you’re in for a lot of comments, including compliments. There are a lot of opinions on whether regularly dressing twins in identical outfits is good for them or harmful to their development.
Lots of Experts Say Don’t Dress Your Twins Alike
Recently, a customer came in with twin girls. Do you dress them in matching outfits, I asked.
Never! she replied. Children need their individuality. In our home, these girls aren’t twins, they’re sisters. They are individuals and we don’t want them to grow up thinking they’re the same person.
- Twins share enough things out of their control like birthdays, the first day of school, graduations, and religious events like confirmation and bar mitzvahs.
- Dressing twins alike can interfere with their abilities to make friends and meet other goals on their own.
- Twins get enough attention anyway—including from strangers—without adding the additional attraction of dressing them identically.
Dressing Twins Alike Won’t Actually Hurt Them
Dressing your twins alike won’t harm them if you can manage to accomplish this.
As TwinsBlog points out, babies put out a lot of body fluids. Frequent clothing changes are inevitable. What they start out wearing in the morning is rarely still on by early afternoon.
Plus, smart parents pick and choose their fights: who wants to regularly battle multiple toddlers who don’t want to wear a particular outfit?
Fears that the kids will lose their individual identity when they are dressed alike are probably overblown. Kids in healthy families will be treated as individuals no matter what. It’s only when they are lumped together as “the twins” and treated as a single unit that things can get weird. It’s parents’ responsibilities to ensure that other family members, teachers, friends, etc., recognize that their children are individuals who need and deserve individual recognition.
True, dressing kids alike will blur the line. But as any parent knows, children show personality pretty quickly, even multiples. One will be more or less likely to cry or be fussy. One will eagerly eat all his food while the other picks at it. One will love the dog, while the other ignores it. And so on.
I have a friend who’s the aunt of identical triplets, literally a one-in-three-million occurrence. (I know you’re wondering: they were not the result of fertility treatment.)
Now in their 30s, these sisters weren’t frequently dressed alike but they did share many preferences until their teens when individual traits came out. They participated in their high school’s marching band but played different instruments. They maintain a very strong bond, my friend tells me. And while style their hair and dress quite differently, they remain obviously identical.
Unless it’s a special occasion like a family picture, there’s really no reason to require multiples to dress the same.
Help People Figure Out Which Twin is Which
If you have same-sex multiples, remember that most people will need clues to remember who’s who, particularly if they’re identical. Put different colored baby bracelets on them. Ask for and buy personalized t-shirts. Emphasize each kid’s likes when people ask what to buy “the twins” for their birthday.
Most of all, let kids choose some of their clothing. Socks and underwear are easy choices. When you shop with them, let them do a little browsing on their own to see who likes what and buy accordingly!